Film Theory: Attack on Titan’s Biggest Mystery SOLVED

Spoiler warning for Attack on Titan. *crashing and punches* Eren! Try a Snickers! You’re not you when you’re hungry. Grab a Snickers. Hello Internet, welcome to Film Theory. The only show to recognize that the best way to stop a skyscraper-tall Titan isn’t building a stronger wall, It’s lining the outside of the city with LEGOs. Look at those bare feet, LEGOs are gonna be more effective than a spike pit. Anyway, as you can tell, today I’m taking another look at everyone’s favorite action horror anime, Attack on Titan. Now if you’re unfamiliar, check out the last video that we did about it or quite frankly, just watch the series. If you’re new to anime and overwhelmed by which shows you should be aware of, this is definitely one of them. It’s one of those franchises that’ll just remain a must watch anime for years to come, kinda like Death Note and Full Metal Alchemist. Anyway, to give you the three sentence rundown, for 100 years, all of humanity has been living in fear, locked in cities protected by towering stone walls designed to keep out the man-eating giants known as Titans. One boy, named Eren Jeager, becomes a soldier and years later discovers that he has the ability to turn into a Titan at will. With Eren’s new power, humanity finally has a fighting chance against their ancient enemy, but reclaiming the world will still be a uphill battle. Especially when you consider that Eren tends to get kidnapped more often than Princess Peach. Now it’ll come as no surprise that the biggest reason I love watching Attack is that it’s packed to bursting with unsolved mysteries. Mysteries is like what the heck was in Eren’s basement? Why the heck would the Colossal Titan knock down the wall in the first place? And how long will this newly-introduced character last before – oh, wait, never mind, they just died. But there’s been one question that’s been hanging over the series since the very beginning. One that is the single biggest driving mystery of the entire plot. What exactly are the Titans? Where did they come from? Now I see you running down to the comments to shout, “TITANS ARE PEOPLE!” and yeah, I am very well aware that at the core of every Titan there’s a human nervous system piloting it. It’s like some kind of horrifying zombie fleshman. But that doesn’t tell us what they’re made out of. What their origin is. Because while the human body can do some amazing things, one thing I’m pretty sure it can’t do is suddenly grow to 20 times its size. At least not on its own. The laws of physics are pret-ty clear about that one. You can’t just create matter from nothing. So when Eren (and the other humans) transform into Titans, all of that instant Titan has to come from somewhere. Something has got to be making that happen, and by analyzing the physical characteristics of the Titans, we can figure out exactly what it is. Solving the show’s single biggest mystery before it’s ever revealed. Now the most obviously unusual trait for the Titan is, of course, they’re freaky faces. But right after that, the thing that stands out most about them is their size. Excluding Abnormal Titans like the Colossal Titan and the Beast Titan from Season 2, Titans range in height from 4 meters to a whopping 15 meters tall (or about 13 to 50 feet). That is pretty darn enormous. “How big did you get? 21 feet. 65.” Stop bragging about yourself Ant-Man. We heard you the first time. Or at least those of you who watched my recent theory about Ant-Man and the Wasp heard it. And if you did, you’ll remember that, due to the square-cube law, increasing a human body’s size by that scale dramatically changes the ratio between its weight and effective strength, making it much harder for the body to move and support itself. That’s why at 60 feet tall, Scott Lang’s movements have to be so much slower and more careful. His body is supporting much more weight than it’s designed to. And since Titans have bone structures that are very similar to humans, you would expect them to be a lot slower than the humans fighting them But that’s not actually the case. In the anime, we frequently see Titans running towards their human prey and picking them up with the precision and agility of a regular-sized human. Even at a full 15 meters tall Eren’s Titan form is capable of breaking into a sprint and using hand-to-hand combat techniques made for a human a tenth of his size. The reason for this is explained in Episode 15 by Hange Zoe, the show’s resident Titan expert. (and apparently digi-destined, if those goggles are any indication) “I’d kicked the severed head of a three meter Titan out of spite, It weighed next to nothing, contrary to the appearance of density and great mass The severed limbs were the lightest tree-bark.” Despite gaining a lot of volume when they transform, Titans don’t gain an equivalent amount of mass. They’re lighter than they should be, which both explains how they can move so quickly and points towards an interesting conclusion. When Titans transform, some matter is being added to their bodies, but what’s there is also expanding, like a balloon or a loaf of bread rising in the oven That’s the only way they could be increasing in size without also increasing proportionally in weight. And as strange as it sounds, the bread comparison might not be that far off. The thing that causes bread to rise is yeast. A single-celled fungus that to put it very simply eats sugar. “Eating sugar?” “No papa.” “Telling lies?” “YES. YES.” And then poops out alcohol and carbon dioxide through a process called fermentation. This trait makes yeast invaluable in the production of beer and wine and has made it a vital component in baking for thousands of years The gases created by yeast create pockets of air inside of bread dough that causes it to rise and gives the final baked good a light fluffy texture (or at least that’s what I’ve learned from binging five seasons worth of the Great British baking show). And yeast is also what’s caused the Titan epidemic in the anime. You heard that right. The true villain and Attack on Titan is a bread leavening agent. Bread is Titans! And Titans are people! So-. Oh god, we need to stop Sasha before she kills again! If you think that theory sounds like a stretch well good because that’s how you activate yeast But seriously the yeast theory accounts for some oddly specific querts of the physiology of Titans. Firstly, Titans are hot. And now I’m not talking about the Female Titan’s exposed muscle look that leaves almost nothing to the imagination. Get your minds out of the gutter! I mean that the Titan bodies give off an insane amount of heat (and the bigger they are the hotter they tend to be). While regular Titans are hot to the touch, the Colossal Titan can cook anyone trying to attack him with a burst of hot steam. And the Massive Titan that Rod just transformed into in the anime is so hot that trees burst into flame just from being near him. Now look at yeast. As yeast ferments, it gives off heat. It’s an exothermic reaction. If the fermentation process speeds up or more alcohol is being produced, that temperature rises. Bigger sizes, faster growth, more HEAT. With bigger Titans, the fermentation would be happening at such great volumes and speeds that the resulting heat would cook the air around them. We can see clear evidence of this whenever a Titan is wounded or dies. As their skin breaks down and decomposes massive amounts of gas are released all at once, sometimes with enough force to blow away the soldiers trying to fight them. This gas would be the CO2 that’s being produced by the yeast and that’s keeping the Titan bodies inflated. And then there’s the way that Titans take in energy. Despite having a hankering for human flesh that rivals my own cravings for Diet Coke, Titans don’t actually need to eat humans for sustenance. I mean, consider this – they were able to keep moving around outside the walls for a hundred years, but only a few unlucky Survey Corps members to snack on. Nope. Their fuel isn’t humans. The only thing that Titans actually need to keep their insanely huge bodies moving is sunlight. In Episode 15, Hange proves this by covering our two captive Titans, Sunny and Bean, with tarps, causing them to stop moving entirely in just a matter of hours. And the Titans discovered inside the walls after Eren and Annie’s wrestling match at the end of Season 1 are also shown to be completely immobile due to a lack of sunlight. You know what else draws energy from sunlight? Yeast. When exposed to ultraviolet radiation from the Sun or other sources, yeast becomes more active, growing, reproducing, and fermenting at a faster rate than normal. If that fermentation is truly the source of the Titans energy, that would explain why cutting them off of sunlight causes them to slow down and eventually stop moving. So ladies and gentlemen, what we have here is a classic case of yeast infection. Okay, so maybe not your ‘classic’ yeast infection. And we’re obviously not just talking about normal yeast. I mean, FatPat here eats a lot of bread and not once has it inspired a global crisis. Just a waistline crisis. Which merits the question: is yeast just an inspiration for Titan behavior? Or is it truly the cause of what we’re seeing in the anime? Is there any sort of evidence that the Attack on Titan universe would have some sort of special yeast that could produce these sorts of effects? Yes. Yes, there is. It’s subtle, (certainly subtle enough that most viewers would probably overlook it) but it is absolutely there. In the publicly available information bonus sections from the manga (which are then repurposed as commercial break eye caches for the anime) There’s an entire page dedicated to a unique type of yeast produced behind Wall Sina. Reading both anime and manga descriptions of it, we learned that this special yeast doesn’t come as a powder. It looks like a lump of fermented soybeans the size of a human head. What’s more, storing it with wheat, soybeans, or cured meat slows down the decomposition process, transforming the food by some means not yet explained by science. This preservation ability provided through the yeast allows for supplies to be stockpiled for future use by forces fighting to take back the walls. And, while that might not seem suspicious at first every other one of these pages is either directly relevant to the current storyline or provides vital world building details, covering topics like characters, battle gear, details about the walls, the history of Titan attacks, Etc. And only 14 of these sorts of pages are included in the original manga These aren’t throwaway details. Each and every one of these pages is something that the manga’s writers felt that you needed to know. So it’s strange at the very least to think that we need to know this weird little detail about fantasy-world food preservation, unless it isn’t really about the food preservation at all. You know, there’s one other place in the Attack on Titan universe where we see that kind of unnatural preservation ability: in the bodies of the Titans themselves. When we find out Ymir’s backstory in Episode 35, we see her turned into a Titan as punishment for leading a cult (and being forced to spend decades out in the wilderness). Eventually, she gets completely buried in the dirt before Bertholdt, Annie, and Reiner stumble up on top of her. But when she transforms back into a human, she somehow hasn’t aged a day. Something within her Titan body preserved her perfectly for all of those years. In general, there’s something preventing the bodies and minds of the human hosts from aging or decaying for years inside their transformed states. And the only thing we know with that property (which also conveniently would explain the Titans’ light weight to gassiness and their solar-powered physiology) is Wall Sina’s miraculous Giant-sized yeast. So the next time you’re baking bread just make sure you eat it before it eats you. But hey, that’s just a theory. A Film Theory. AND CUT

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